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(Live Review) HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY + GHOST BATH - Reggie's, Chicago (5/14/23)

By The Beard & Little Johnny

Tonight, your reviewers The Beard & Little Johnny attend show number #19 and bands #92-95 on our The Reviews Never Stop Tour 2023.

Live, from Reggie’s Rock-House in Chicago, it is a post black metal night featuring:

Harakiri for the Sky

Ghost Bath



We are taking a Sunday off from beer and just viewing the show straight-edge style. Johnny, (as always), is out in front, and The Beard is upstairs as we await a night of evil blackness. On the way in, we stopped at the merchandise tent where we once again realized black metal band fonts are completely unreadable if you do not already know what it is supposed to say.

Do they still require a year of foreign language study in school like back in the Beard's day? Because if they taught black metal font reading, I would take that class.

I asked Johnny about that, and he just said at the orphanage the only language they taught was “Shut up and sit down” or “Please Sir, may I have some more?” in an Oliver Twist English accent. Anyway, we did not buy anything based strictly on appearances. We shall see what everyone actually sounds like.

First up are the local Chicago boys ...


Once again, I had to look up what that word meant. Apparently, it is an awkward portmanteau of “dismal” and “limerence,” indicating an ugly or depressing infatuation. I may already be working too hard for an opening act, but apparently black metal bands put a lot of thought into this sort of thing.

With just one full length release, 2020’s Tome: 1, this is an atmospheric black metal band mixing slow, almost ponderous, sections with the usual black metal blast beats and fury. Often the problem with this style in openers is that the music cannot fully emerge from its dark cocoon and into the black butterfly the artist intends it to before their slotted time is up.

Dismalimerence is somewhat melodic, and they do play without the nonstop speed of other bands in the genre, but they do not ever rise or sink to a level totally unique. Part of it may be that I have already seen this style so often that just four regular guys in hoodies do not move the needle for me.

In the end this is not a band I disliked or wanted their set to end early. The slow atmosphere numbers were okay. The fast traditional speedy aggressive black metal numbers were also okay. Overall, I will say 77/100. My advice is to get some corpse paint, a few effects, and commit to a show, as well as a musical set.

Second up were Canadian black metal act...


These Canadian boys are fronted by a guy who simply uses an unpronounceable symbol as his name. Perhaps he is channeling black metal Prince.

Unreqvited worked in the musical stylings of black metal paired with nature music, a theme done well by acts like Sylvaine or Myrkur. This, (although similar as the soft melodic sections are paired with minutes of screaming aggression), isn’t quite as good as those other bands. In fact, some numbers were either sloppy or intentionally off in order to create a purposeful discordance. Since black metal often enjoys producing an uncomfortable feeling in its music, I cannot really be sure which was happening. That said, this style appeals to me so I have a soft spot in my grading system for this subgenre.

The Beard awards them 83/100 and I might pick up a CD on the way out.

Third up are North Dakotas own...


Their name comes from “suicide by drowning” so, yeah, that is pretty morbid right away.

Having released four albums, the last being 2021’s Self Loathing, these guys combine black metal with shoe gaze which, (despite Little Johnny’s hearing that, and then staring intently at his sneakers for twenty minutes before saying “I don’t get it.”), is a subgenre of indie and alternative rock characterized by its ethereal mixture of obscured vocals, guitar distortion and effects. When combined with black metal, it creates an atmospheric fusion. The band itself does look like a fusion between metal and hippie. (Not sure how that flies in North Dakota, but then again, it is North Dakota, who is there to judge?).

Out of the gate, the singer says “We’re Ghost Bath. Here’s some songs about loving life and being happy.” Points for making me chuckle.

The music does have a lot of orchestral material and some majestic feel around the normal black metal howls of soul-wrenching despair likely pulled directly from the seventh circle of Hell which ironically also contains Hell's Department of Motor Vehicles.

Like Unreqvited before them, Ghost Bath does create a feel that is just a bit off/uncomfortable, but this time I am certain that is entirely on purpose. As the band played almost exclusively in red hued darkness, it is tough to give points on the visuals, but the feelings their music evoked was definitely worth an 85/100.

Headliners are Austrian Black Metal act...


Touring behind 2021’s Maere, this hardcore/black metal act from Vienna had the most musicality of the night. Their songs were songs, not just screams into atmosphere. Lyrically, they focus on suicide, estrangement, and broken relationships, with titles such as "Heroin Waltz", "Funeral Dreams" & "Lungs filled with Water". One individual near me screamed relentlessly at the end of every song for the band to play “Fire Walk with Me” (which they eventually did).

Despite Harakiri for the Sky being basically a two-person Act, with an additional three “touring players,” all the musicians acquitted themselves well and I never would have known that wasn’t the actual full-time band. Musically, they reminded me of Insomnium or maybe Agalloch, with a little bit of Defhaven thrown in.

Although I did not like the heavy blue lighting and fog as it was frankly really hard to see anyone do anything, still, this was the best set of the night and worth a high 88/100

Johnny had an almost pit-less evening, but he was able to bang his little head a lot, so he was content. For an evening of black metal, this was decent and a good wrap up to event #19.

In a couples days we will be heading south for event #20, so until then from The Beard and Little Johnny, remember to frequent for all our reviews, and don’t forget hundreds of videos, (encompassing every show we’ve reviewed), can be found on our TikTok page. Just search thebeard0728 or #thebeardandlittlejohnny

Until we review again, stay Metal and as always ...

Horns Up!!


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